“There are a few things that you want to do in life,” says James Corden. “Work with Mathew Horne, kiss Harry Potter, and make films about lesbian vampires.”

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Mat Horne, James Corden, Paul McGann and MyAnna Buring.

His work with Horne is well documented in the critically-acclaimed comedy series Gavin & Stacey, and his encounter with Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on stage at last year’s Whatsonstage Theatre Awards is all over the web. RT has travelled to 3 Mills Studio in the east end of London to watch him, and Horne, get to grips with that third ambition on the set of Lesbian Vampire Killers. On a soundstage at the back of the lot we’re in an overgrown forest locale, replete with vines choking stone sarcophagi, which are strewn about the site like they’ve grown wild. With us, amongst the workmen and technicians that usually populate a film set, are 12-15 women dressed so scantily in semi-transparent silk that they may as well be naked.

“It’s all about being surrounded by women,” Corden laughs. “That’s the idea for life, isn’t it? I imagine most people that work at Rotten Tomatoes are doing it to get women. Every man’s quest is doing stuff to get women…”

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Silvia Colloca, as Queen Vampire Carmilla – gets to grips with Corden and Buring.

In the true spirit of fantasy horror, we witness shooting on a scene in which Horne and Corden, with co-stars Paul McGann and MyAnna Buring, are literally fighting off the advances of a Vampire Queen and her troupe of similarly-sexy vamp vixens. Horne is pointing a crossbow and Corden is swinging condoms filled with holy water — or, at least, he is until one bursts all over him, prompting a retake and a decision to be less vigorous next time.

It’d be easy to assume a film like this doesn’t need much of a plot providing it’s at turns funny and titillating, but there most definitely is one, they insist. “I play a character called Jimmy, who’s been dumped by his girlfriend,” Horne tells us. “And James plays this character called Fletch, who’s lost his job. We’d like to get away from it all, but neither of us has any money, so we end up on a hiking holiday in this cursed village, where we encounter lesbian vampires.”

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Horne and Corden charge into battle. Big sword jokes abound.

“Do you like Mike Leigh‘s films?” asks Corden, with a glint in his eye. “It’s very similar. It’ll definitely be a front-runner come awards season!”

With giant lights beaming down on the set, it’s just about the warmest forest RT has ever visited, but it’s far from the stuffy environment we expect from rushed indie film productions — more for the atmosphere amongst the crew than the temperature on the soundstage. Horne and Corden chat jovially in-between takes, and director Phil Claydon seems keen to ensure the mood on set is as light as the material. Everyone seems to be having a great time working on a piece of light-hearted entertainment.

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Buring behind the scenes.

But there is more to the film than just ludicrousness of the premise and the first two thirds of the title, its stars say. “I think it offers a lot more than the title implies,” says Corden. “And it’s predominantly about two friends on a weekend and what happens for them.” Agrees Horne, “It’s part road-movie, part buddy-movie and there’s some horror in it as well, so it’s a great balance. It was the script, first and foremost, that made us want to do it.”

As the pair’s first attempt to lead a big-screen comedy – though Corden, of course, has spent time as part of ensembles in the likes of The History Boys or as supporting characters – it may well mark an important step in their careers, too. The tremendous success of Shaun of the Dead led Simon Pegg from Brit TV comedy roots into big-budget Hollywood movies, and it’s hard not to make comparisons between the two. Both feature stars of British TV comedy series’ making their big-screen debuts as the leads in comedy horror films.

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Colloca gets mad and apparently electrical.

For them, though, the project was simply an opportunity to work with interesting material. “We’ve done work either side of Gavin & Stacey that stands up,” says Corden. “It was never a case of ‘Ooh, here’s a chance to show what we can do.’ We thought of it as a chance to be involved with something that’s really good.

“It’s odd because on no level was this written for us. The script was written before we were involved, but if we had approached [the writers] Paul & Stuart and said, ‘write a film for us,’ I don’t think it would have been vastly different. Certainly in the characters – it felt really perfect, and the perfect time to do it.”

Lesbian Vampire Killers
Corden, Horne and Buring.

The truth is that the film probably will have to pitch somewhere close to perfect to really work with wider audiences in the way that Shaun did. The novelty of the title has worn off quickly, and the project has even attracted attention from anti-defamation leagues who are failing to see the humour. Shaun-esque success lies in one direction, but another Brit comedy double-act, Mitchell & Webb, saw their big-screen debut, Magicians, sink without a trace — unless the film can attract word-of-mouth support for its quality and comedy there’s a real risk it’ll head in the same direction.

Fortunately, a few months after our visit, RT previews 10 minutes of the film in front of an engaged FrightFest crowd. It’s a showreel for the film that hasn’t really been done justice in the trailers that have emerged publicly to date, and it has the audience in fits of laughter throughout. That familiar Horne/Corden sense of humour is there, and the fish-out-of-water fumblings of the pair trying to get to grips with their situation are genuinely funny. If the finished product can maintain this level of belly-laughs for all of its ninety minutes, we may well be in for a treat.

Lesbian Vampire Killers releases in the UK on 20th March following a premiere screening at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. US and AU release dates are to be confirmed.

Much has been made lately of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s demands to screen the Weinstein Co.’s upcoming Oscar hopeful, but it’s only the latest in a growing trend of troubling rumors surrounding the Edie Sedgwick biopic.

"Factory Girl" has been buzzed about as Sienna Miller‘s big break, the role that could send the British actress from "Layer Cake" eye-candy to breakout star. Distributor Weinstein Co. even pushed the flick towards a last-minute December 29 release to qualify for awards season; months ago, Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells rough cut rave hailed it as a contender (and suggested there’s Oscar potential in both Miller’s star turn and co-star Guy Pearce‘s portrayal of Andy Warhol).


Miller as Sedgwick in "Factory Girl"

The film, directed by documentarian George Hickenlooper ("Hearts of Darkness," "Mayor of the Sunset Strip"), chronicles the up-down trajectory of Warhol celebutante Sedgwick, the pixie-headed model-actress who was briefly a member of the Factory in the 1960s, dated Bob Dylan, and died of a drug overdose in 1971. Miller herself is a dead-on doppelganger for Sedgwick and stars alongside Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Ileana Douglas, Mary-Kate Olsen, Jimmy Fallon, Mena Suvari, and various members of Weezer.

It’s Christensen’s character, "Billy Quinn," that has drawn the ire of Dylan and his lawyers; though the name is different, the character bears enough resemblance to the folk legend and implies that their break-up inadvertently led to Sedgwick’s demise. From the LA Times: "[The character] has Dylan’s mannerisms and sports a checked scarf like the one Dylan sports on the cover of his classic "Blonde on Blonde" album — on which, legend has it, Sedgwick inspired two songs, "Just Like a Woman" and "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat."


Sedgwick (Miller) with Andy Warhol (Pearce)

Consequently, Dylan is demanding the film’s release and all early screenings be cancelled until he can view it and give his approval — or else producers Bob Yari and Holly Wiersma will be sued for defamation. (Coincidentally, Yari is the guy who was embroiled in a lawsuit around this time last year over snubbed producing credits for "Crash" and is currently in a public sparring match with Warner Bros. over what he considers a flawed Oscar campaign for his upcoming film, "The Painted Veil.")

Add that to recent rumors of Weinstein-mandated re-shoots and "Girl" champions might have cause to worry about the flick (and it’s stars’) chances come February. And then there’s the message board shouting match over at Cinematical about the Hickenlooper film, a failed competing Edie Sedgwick project, and a quite entertaining, if hard to follow, ensuing war of words from supporters of both camps (scroll down to the comments, it’s worth it!).

Elsewhere in Indie News

Sharon Stone To Play Jimmy Fallon’s MILF in Indie Pic


Stone in last year’s "Broken Flowers"

Jimmy Fallon and Sharon Stone are teaming up for the indie drama "Eliot Rockett." The film, which will begin shooting in February, tells the story of a workaholic/commitment-phobe man returning to his hometown due to a family illness; a reunion with his mother (Stone) rekindles his feelings of dysfunction. "Eliot Rockett" marks the directorial debut of co-screenwriter Patrick Sisam.

Lionsgate to Show Crowe’s "Tenderness"


Crowe earning his Golden Globe in "A Beautiful Mind"

The Russell Crowe-starrer "Tenderness" has been picked up by Lionsgate. The indie drama, which also features the talents of Laura Dern, Jon Foster, and Sophie Traub, tells the story of a cop on the trail of a serial killer, who’s become a bit too friendly with a local girl. The film is currently in post-production, and will likely hit theaters in late 2007.

Judge Unleashes "Alpha Dog"


"Alpha Dog": Coming to theaters before going to trial

It’s finally a go for teen crime flick "Alpha Dog," the Nick Cassavetes-helmed biopic based on the life of a young drug lord known as Jesse James Hollywood that premiered at Sundance nearly a year ago. Thanks to a federal judge’s ruling, Universal can release the film as planned this January; Hollywood’s defense attorney still maintains that releasing the flick will infringe upon his client’s right to a fair trial (to take place next year) and will continue to seek legal restraints.

The pic, starring Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis, and a lot more young Hollywood thesps, details the kidnapping and murder of a young man allegedly orchestrated by Hollywood, who consequently became the youngest person on the FBI’s most wanted list. The wealthy, fast-living criminal fled to Brazil, where he was apprehended in 2005.

Tomatometers for Last Week’s Limited Releases


Sarah Polley in Isabel Coixet’s "The Secret Life of Words"

Also playing this week in limited release: "The Secret Life of Words," starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley in a tale of high drama on an oil rig, is at 76 percent with 25 reviews; "Automatons," a zero-budget dystopian sci-fi flick, is at 67 percent with 6 reviews; "Breaking and Entering," a story of the tangled webs weaved after a burglary starring Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, is at 50 percent with 36 reviews; "The Good German," Steven Soderbergh‘s "Casablanca"-esque drama set in post-WWII Berlin starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, is at 33 percent with 70 reviews; and "Home of the Brave," about the trials of vets returning home from Iraq starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, and 50 Cent, is at 21 percent with 33 reviews.

Top Performing Limiteds



Penelope and Pedro, still going strong…

In the indie box office battle last week, Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver" again claims the top spot, taking in a per screen average of $6,965 of 45 screens in its seventh week of release for a total of just under $2.9 million. The runner-up was the debut drama "The Secret Life of Words" starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley; it took in $5,309 in one theater. The suburban drama "Little Children" starring Kate Winslet came in third, claiming $3,695 on 21 screens in its 11th week of release (for a total of just over $2 million). The theatrical adaptation of "The History Boys" finished fourth, taking in $2,889 on 76 screens in its fourth week of release for a total of $795,000. Finally, the Bollywood drama/adventure, "Kabul Express," made $2,852 on 50 screens in its first week of release, for a total of $142,000.

In making "The Queen," Stephen Frears has directed one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, and made $49 million in global box office returns to boot. RT chatted with the Brit about his new royal drama — and it’s no surprise who he thinks deserves the Best Actress Oscar.

Surprisingly few movie-goers know him by name, but they do know his films: "My Beautiful Laundrette," "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Grifters," "High Fidelity," and "Dirty Pretty Things," among others, not to mention my personal, lesser-known favorite, "The Snapper" (Mr. Frears agrees that it’s "wonderful"). With such an impressive filmography, Frears can boast a career as one of the most talented — if rarely venerated — directors of our time.


Frears’ "Mrs. Henderson Presents" (66%), "Dangerous Liasons" (95%), and "My Beautiful Laundrette" (100%)

Perhaps it’s only his eclectic taste that keeps this body of work from being more recognizable as a whole. With such an array of stories and characters, you could say his products lack a brand — really, that’s part of their charm.

As his latest film stuns critics ("The Queen" currently resides at 98 percent on the Tomatometer, making it one of our best-rated films of all time) and attracts Oscar buzz (for its direction and an impressive performance by Helen Mirren in the title role), it looks as though Frears might finally become a household name. Rotten Tomatoes caught up with Mr. Frears at the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco where he jovially discussed the British Monarchy, disastrous politicians, and the film industry across the Atlantic, among other things.

——–

Rotten Tomatoes: What were the biggest obstacles you faced while making "The Queen?"

Stephen Frears: You just sort of had to take a deep breath and do it, because no one had really done it before and it was such a cheeky idea. I mean, it’s like a soap opera really. You sort of can’t quite believe you’re standing in front, directing an actress playing the queen. It’s just not what happens in normal life.

RT: Did you have any concerns about a political reaction?

SF: Listen, we clearly got away with it. If we hadn’t made the film we’d made we would have looked pretty stupid. I thought people would say, you know, this film shouldn’t have been made, this woman should be left alone. But nobody’s actually said that.


Helen Mirren in "The Queen"

RT: Have you heard from The House of Windsor about the film?

SF: They don’t ring me up about it, they don’t leave me notes.

RT: [Laughs] What about Tony Blair?

SF: I was told he’d seen it.

RT: You’ve been Oscar-nominated for 1991’s "The Grifters" and directed an Oscar-nominated performance last year (Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents") —

SF: I’ve had five actresses nominated.

RT: You have?

SF: King of the Actresses, me.

RT: Did you have your eye on the Oscar going into "The Queen?"

SF: If it was mine to give I’d give it to Helen…but it ain’t.


Kelly Reilly and Dame Judi in last year’s "Mrs. Henderson Presents"

RT: What one movie in your filmography do you think didn’t get the critical recognition it deserved?

SF: Hundreds of them! Hundreds of them! Dozens of them! I love "Mrs. Henderson." Dozens of them. "Hi-Lo Country" I love. "Hero" I love. Dozens of them. It’s been one long lifetime of injustice.

RT: Well, maybe you’re finally getting your redemption.

SF: [Laughs] Said the luckiest man in the world.


More Frears: "The Hi-Lo Country" (53%), "Hero" (63%), "The Snapper" (95%)

Click here to read the full interview!

ELSEWHERE IN INDIE NEWS THIS WEEK:

Almodovar and Cruz To Re-Team On "El Piel Que Habito"


Pedro and Penelope: Like Batman and Robin, like Cloak and Dagger, like Captain and Tennille…

Fresh off the success of their latest collaboration, "Volver," Pedro Almodovar says he’s planning on working with Penelope Cruz on his next flick as well. Almodovar told reporters in his native Spain that his next film, "El Piel Que Habito" ("The Skin I Live In"), will be shot in Warsaw, and will be a radical departure from his previous films. "It’s a very tough story about revenge. It has nothing to do with ‘Volver’ or my life," he said.

Aptly-named "Weirdsville" To Open Slamdance


Scott’s got his eyes on Slamdance.

The screwball dramedy "Weirdsville," starring Scott Speedman, Taryn Manning, and Wes Bentley, will be the opening night selection for this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. The fest, now in its 13th year, will run from Jan. 18 to 27 in Park City, Utah, concurrently with Sundance. The narrative and documentary films at Slamdance are made by first-time directors on budgets of $1 million or less. The festival will showcase 100 films, a number pared down from more than 3,600 submissions.

Korine Finishes "Mister Lonely"


Wener Herzog enjoys a quiet stroll through the woods.

Say what you will about Harmony Korine: he’s never been conventional. So when the enfant terrible auteur says that his latest, "Mister Lonely," is "pretty weird," that probably means it’s really weird. The film stars Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe, Diego Luna as Michael Jackson, Anita Pallenberg as the Queen of England, and the not-at-all-eccentric Werner Herzog. No date has been set for the film’s release; Korine’s last picture was 1999’s still-controversial "Julien Donkey-Boy."

Tomatometers For Last Week’s Limited Releases

Opening last week in limited release: "10 Items or Less," a laid-back romance starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, is at 62 percent with 47 reviews; "3 Needles," a globe-spanning drama about the toll of the AIDS virus, is at 34 percent with 32 reviews; "The Architect," a tale of two families in conflict over a public housing structure, is at 18 percent with 17 reviews; and "Two Weeks," a dramedy about a family’s response to terminal illness, is at zero percent with six reviews.


"The Architect": Viola Davis may not be an architecture critic, but she knows what she doesn’t like.

Top Performing Limiteds

In last week’s indie box office battle, "Volver" grossed an average of $12,675 on 30 screens (it’s made $1.9 million in its five week run), besting the stage-to-screen adaptation "The History Boys," which averaged $10,359 on eight screens (which has mad $300,000 in its two weeks in theaters). The Bollywood drama "Dhoom 2" held tough, raking in an average of $8,104 on 63 screens (for a total of $2.1 million in two weeks), while the Jean-Luc Godard classic "Two Or Three Things I Know About Her…" made $8,050 on one screen, for a total of $47,000 in three weeks. Rounding out the top five was the relationship drama "Flannel Pajamas, which hauled in a so-so $3,716 on two screens, for a total of $42,000 in three weeks of release.


"Flannel Pajamas": Before the good times went bad.

It’s time again to celebrate the best that indie-land has to offer. The Spirit Award nominees are out, with "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Half Nelson" leading all contenders with five nods each, including best feature.

The family dysfunction on-the-road comedy "Sunshine" was also nominated for Best Director (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Supporting Male (Alan Arkin and Paul Dano) and Best First Screenplay (Michael Arndt). Meanwhile, "Half Nelson," a drama about a troubled inner-city teacher, received nods for Best Director (Ryan Fleck), Male Lead (Ryan Gosling), Female Lead (Shareeka Epps), and Best First Screenplay (Anna Boden and Fleck).


"Wait… we might both win Spirit Awards?"

The other nominees for Best Feature are "American Gun," "The Dead Girl," and "Pan’s Labyrinth." In the Best Director category, the nominees also include Robert Altman for "A Prairie Home Companion," Karen Moncrieff for "The Dead Girl," and Steven Soderbergh for "Bubble."

In addition to Gosling, the Male Lead nominees are Aaron Eckhart ("Thank You For Smoking"), Edward Norton ("The Painted Veil"), Ahmad Razvi ("Man Push Cart"), and Forest Whitaker ("American Gun"). In addition to Epps, the others up for the Female Lead award are Catherine O’Hara ("For Your Consideration"), Elizabeth Reaser ("Sweet Land"), Michelle Williams ("Land of Plenty"), and Robin Wright Penn ("Sorry, Haters").


"Pan’s Labyrinth": Do fauns qualify for Spirit Awards?

The Spirit Awards, formerly the Independent Spirit Awards, recognize films made on budgets of less than $20 million. The winners will be announced on Feb. 24, a day before the Academy Awards.

For a complete list of the nominees, click here. Also, check out RT’s interview with "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris here.

ELSEWHERE IN INDIE NEWS THIS WEEK:

"Tears" Finally Makes It To Theaters

The brightly colored, highly stylized Thai western "Tears of the Black Tiger" will open in January, six years after its premiere at Cannes. The film has been acquired by Magnolia from Miramax; "Tears" played on the festival circuit before landing in the company’s vault.

Swiss Oscar Selection Gets Distributor

The North American rights for "Vitus," Switzerland’s candidate for the Foreign Film Oscar, have been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. The film, starring Bruno Ganz and Teo Gheorghiu, tells the tale of a child prodigy and his complex relationship with his parents.

Top Reviewed Limiteds

Opening last week in limited release: "Backstage," a dark examination of celebrity, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer with 10 reviews; "The History Boys," a tale of hypercompetitive English schoolboys adapted from Alan Bennett, is at 62 percent with 50 reviews; and "Opal Dream," a coming-of-age tale about a little girl with imaginary friends in the Australian outback, is at 57 percent with 14 reviews.

Top Performing Limiteds

In last week’s indie box office battle, Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver" grossed an average of $17,071 on 30 screens, beating out the Bollywood drama "Dhoom 2," which averaged $15,540 on 63 screens. "The History Boys" opened on seven screens with a $14,400 average, while the Jean-Luc Godard classic "Two Or Three Things I Know About Her…" and the Slamdance-approved documentary "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story" both opened on one screen apiece to earn $10,764 and $5,034, respectively. Last week’s top indie "Bobby" dropped to 15th place after expanding from two to 1,667 screens, dropping its per-screen average from $34,519 to $2,914.


"The History Boys": No threat to the Hell’s Angels.

Thanks to Nick Hershey for his contribution to this story.

Movie fans feasted on tasty leftovers over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend as the top two films atop the charts remained unchanged from last week. The penguin toon Happy Feet held onto the number one spot while the James Bond actioner Casino Royale followed in second place once again.

Both films enjoyed solid sophomore frames and grossed nearly $100M in combined ticket sales over the Wednesday-to-Sunday period. Several new films that opened were treated like side dishes with audiences finding some of them to be unappetizing. Among the better performers were the action thriller Deja Vu and the family comedy Deck the Halls which finished the weekend in third and fourth places, respectively. Overall, the multiplexes were bustling as the top ten matched last year’s holiday performance which was impressive given the lack of a Harry Potter-type juggernaut on this year’s movie menu.

Sitting on top of the North American box office for a second straight weekend was Happy Feet which danced up an estimated $37.9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and an impressive $51.5M over the five-day Wednesday-to-Sunday holiday span. That propelled the cume for the Warner Bros. blockbuster to $100.1M after only ten days giving the studio a great start for its pricey $100M kidpic. In a year overstuffed with animated films, the penguin film joins Ice Age: The Meltdown and Cars as the only toons to spend back-to-back weeks at number one in 2006. The three-day gross slipped a scant 9% from its opening weekend indicating solid word-of-mouth and possibly good legs ahead.

The slender decline was similar to the turkey weekend drops of 2004’s National Treasure and 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas which slipped only 9% and 5%, respectively, when Thanksgiving fell on their second weekends. All three films carried PG ratings, played to broad audiences, opened at number one, and retained their box office crown over the turkey holiday. Treasure captured half of its eventual $173M domestic total in the first ten days while Grinch’s share was a similar 53%. If Happy Feet can stay strong throughout the holiday season, it could find its way to $175-190M.

Holding steady in the number two spot was Agent 007 in Casino Royale which collected an estimated $31M over three days and $45.1M over five days. Off only 24%, that pushed the ten-day domestic haul for the Sony release to a stellar $94.2M. Although Casino opened softer than the last film in the series — 2002’s Die Another Day starring Pierce Brosnan — it enjoyed a better sophomore hold. Die dropped 34% in its second weekend to a matching $31M over the three-day portion of the Thanksgiving holiday banking $101.4M in ten days.

Casino is also benefiting from encouraging buzz and could be on its way to grossing $150-160M from North America coming close to the $160.9M of Die which holds the franchise record. Even if the new Daniel Craig film does not set a new franchise benchmark for domestic sales, it still means that the risky casting change has paid off with today’s audiences still finding Bond to be a relevant film series. Overseas, Casino Royale continued to open at number one in every market it invaded this weekend and watched its international cume soar to $128.2M as its worldwide gross zoomed to an eye-popping $222.4M in under two weeks. The studio expects Casino Royale to outperform the $432M global gross of Die Another Day to become the biggest Bond ever.

Holiday moviegoers looking for something new to see powered the Denzel Washington crime thriller Deja Vu into third place with an opening weekend of $20.8M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Directed by Tony Scott (Crimson Tide, Top Gun), the PG-13 film averaged a sturdy $6,704 from 3,108 sites for Buena Vista. The studio made a bold move when it programmed Deja Vu’s launch to be just five days after the opening of Casino Royale which would also pull in action fans. Since its Wednesday bow, Deja Vu has grossed a strong $29M.

Washington proved once again that he is one of Hollywood’s most reliable and consistent box office draws. Seven of the last eight films he has headlined have opened with $20M or more. Few A-listers can make that claim. In his new film, the Oscar-winning actor plays a ATF agent who uses new government technology to try to alter the past in order to prevent a ferry explosion that kills over 500 innocent people in New Orleans. It was the first Hollywood film shot in the city after Hurricane Katrina. Reviews were generally positive.

Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick battled their way into fourth place with the new holiday comedy Deck the Halls which opened to an estimated $12M. Fox launched the film in 3,205 locations and averaged a decent $3,744 per site. Since its Wednesday launch, the PG-rated family film has taken in $16.9M. That puts Deck below the openings of recent live-action Thanksgiving weekend kidpics like last year’s Yours, Mine, and Ours and 2004’s Christmas with the Kranks. Those comedies debuted to five-day tallies of $24.3M and $30.8M. Competition was tough for Deck which had to deal with Happy Feet, The Santa Clause 3, and Flushed Away stealing away $54M over the three-day span from the same audience.

Dropping 29% to an estimated $10.4M in its fourth trek was Fox’s Borat which joined the century club over the weekend. November’s only non-penguin film to reach number one has now taken in $109.3M. Jumping up 21% from last weekend thanks to the holiday was Disney’s The Santa Clause 3 which followed close behind with an estimated $10M. The Tim Allen pic has collected $67.2M to date and is running 29% behind the pace of its 2002 predecessor.

Sony’s Will Ferrell comedy Stranger Than Fiction ranked seventh with an estimated $6M, down 9%, for a $32.7M total. The animated tale Flushed Away slipped 12% to an estimated $5.8M and has grossed $57.4M thus far.

Two new films rounded out the top ten with less-than-spectacular results. MGM released The Weinstein Co. pic Bobby and grossed an estimated $4.9M from 1,667 theaters for a mild $2,945 average. Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, the R-rated film examines the lives of several people on the day that Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. The all-star cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Sharon Stone, Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Happy Feet star Elijah Wood. Bobby opened in two theaters a week earlier and expanded nationally on Thanksgiving Thursday. The distributor chose not to open nationwide on the typical Wednesday date since that day marked the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Cume to date is $6.2M

Opening poorly in tenth place was the sci-fi romance The Fountain with an estimated $3.7M from 1,472 for a weak $2,531 average. Darren Aronofsky (pi, Requiem for a Dream) directed the PG-13 film which stars Hugh Jackman (another voice from the chart-topping penguin pic) and Aronofsky’s real-life girlfriend Rachel Weisz in a tale of a man’s search to cure his wife’s illness. Over five days, Fountain collected only $5.4M.

Another Thanksgiving turkey came in the form of the comedy Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny which failed to find paying customers and finished outside of the top ten. The Jack Black comedy took in an estimated $3.1M from 1,919 theaters for a wimpy $1,621 average. The R-rated pic was targeted at young men and saw a soft $5.2M bow over the Wednesday-to-Sunday holiday span.

The film industry satire For Your Consideration expanded from 23 to 623 theaters this weekend and grossed an estimated $2M. With a mediocre $3,186 average, the Warner Independent release upped its cume to $3.1M.

Fox Searchlight debuted its comedy The History Boys and grossed an estimated $101,000 from seven theaters for a solid $14,389 average. Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play, the R-rated film bowed in six U.S. theaters on Tuesday and added one Canadian location on Friday. Cume to date stands at $142,000 and the distributor will expand to four additional markets on December 8.

Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Paramount Vantage’s Babel fell 33% to an estimated $1.9M pushing the cume up to a decent $15.2M. The Brad Pitt pic may finish in the $17-19M range although it could go further if it secures major award nominations. Another film generating Oscar buzz followed as Martin Scorsese’s The Departed shot up an estimated $1.8M in its eighth weekend, down 30%, boosting the cume to $116.8M. With a production cost of $90M, the acclaimed director’s top-grossing film should reach the $120M mark domestically.

The horror sequel Saw III scared up an estimated $1.5M, down 48%, for a strong $78M to date. The $12M Lionsgate hit looks to end with about $80M or a bit less than Saw II’s $87M from last year. After Dark’s Horror Fest concluded its limited five-day theatrical run with $2.6M from 488 theaters last week for a solid $5,328 average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $142.7M over three days which was dead even with last year when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire remained at number one with $54.7M; and down 2% from 2004 when National Treasure stayed in the top spot with $32.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got holiday mischief ("Deck the Halls," starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito), a phenomenon known as déjà vu ("Déjà Vu," starring Denzel Washington), a spiritual journey through time ("The Fountain," starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz), and a mystical guitar pick ("Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny," starring Jack Black and Kyle Gass). What do the critics have to say?

The holiday season is nearly upon us, which means another poorly-reviewed seasonal comedy is hitting theaters. In "Deck the Halls," Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito star as next-door neighbors competing to hang the shiniest star upon the highest bough — or at least out-decorate each other. Practical jokes and one-upmanship ensue. The critics have made a list of the film’s problems and checked it twice, and they say it’s too juvenile to pull off the combination of slapstick and family togetherness it’s attempting. At 13 percent on the Tomatometer, "Deck the Halls" has coal in its stocking.


"Ok, the first one to cause rolling blackouts wins."

Denzel Washington rejoins director Tony Scott in "Déjà Vu" as an ATF agent who goes back in time to stop the murder of a woman he subsequently falls in love with. And while the movie’s high-concept angle is riling some critics, others are falling in love with Tony Scott’s unique visual twist on time travel. So either it’s an original take on a familiar concept or it’s about as believable as Keira Knightley the bounty hunter… At 59 percent, the pundits seem to favor the latter.


"So how do you say ‘deja vu’ in Aramaic?"

Beautiful and transcendent or muddled and pretentious? Darren Aronofsky‘s "The Fountain" is dividing the critics right down the middle. This philosophical, time-jumping sci-fi tale stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz as a couple in Conquistador-era Spain, the present, and in a space-age future who are obsessed with death and rebirth. "The Fountain" overflows with ideas and images, and while some critics praise the film’s striking visual flair and Aronofsky’s audacity, others say it’s ultimately too incoherent to pull off the "2001"-esque meditation it strives for. "The Fountain" currently stands at 39 percent on the Tomatometer.


Mosh pits have not evolved much in 500 years.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass set out to unleash the Greatest Movie in the World when "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny" hits theaters this week, but the critics have had a tough time figuring out if they’ve actually done it. The facts are smudged in this would-be biopic telling the story of the formation of The D and their quest to find a magical guitar pick that’ll transform them into rock gods. When the reviews are good The D look set to rock the world, but when they’re bad the word ‘cerebral’ pops up only in reference to what this movie is not. "Pick" currently stands at 48 percent on the Tomatometer.


"Eins, zwei, drei, Hasselhoff!"

"Bobby" and "For Your Consideration" opened in limited release last week, and now both are going wide. Emilio Estevez‘s "Bobby," an Altman-esque tale of the night of Robert Kennedy’s assassination starring half the population of California, is at 51 percent on the Tomatometer, and the Hollywood-skewering "For Your Consideration," Christopher Guest‘s latest ensemble comedy, is at 52 percent. Also opening this week in limited release are "Opal Dream," a coming-of-age tale about a little girl with imaginary friends in the outback, is at 80 percent, and "The History Boys," a tale of hypercompetitive English schoolboys adapted from Alan Bennett, is at 61 percent.


"The History Boys": the UK’s least intimidating street gang.

Finally, while it may be a bit early to call dreday as consistent a hitmaker as is Dr. Dre himself, it is worth noting that he came the closest to guessing the Tomatometer for "Let’s Go to Prison" (8 percent), making it his second consecutive Guess victory in a row. Watch out for player haters, dreday.

Thanks to Joe Utichi for his help on this article.

Recent Denzel Washington Movies:
——————————————-
88% — Inside Man (2006)
81% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
66% — Out of Time (2003)
79% — Antwone Fisher (2002)

Recent Jack Black Movies:
———————————
37% — Nacho Libre (2006)
84% — King Kong (2005)
35% — Shark Tale (2004)
6% — Envy (2004)
90% — School of Rock (2003)

Tag Cloud

DC Universe Grammys revenge Columbia Pictures Star Wars streaming movies Set visit mission: impossible GoT screenings slashers PlayStation Spike Nickelodeon Bravo miniseries Elton John elevated horror facebook anime Film Festival nbcuniversal universal monsters movies Writers Guild of America canceled ESPN Pride Month scorecard tv talk American Society of Cinematographers The Academy indie psychological thriller witnail series hidden camera 2017 Broadway obituary Thanksgiving true crime canceled TV shows HFPA leaderboard 24 frames Anna Paquin The Witch AMC Plus nature Valentine's Day Lifetime archives Country news Pacific Islander comedies all-time ViacomCBS kong Universal Pictures talk show cinemax The Walt Disney Company CMT Musicals Holiday teaser Spectrum Originals quibi Tags: Comedy Polls and Games fresh book adaptation composers TCA 2017 award winner Drama WarnerMedia Britbox TBS VH1 franchise comic books MSNBC aliens Comics on TV biopic The CW cults 79th Golden Globes Awards docuseries zombie El Rey a nightmare on elm street AMC live action politics A24 parents Trivia TCA Awards diversity 99% TV renewals Stephen King Quiz Reality Competition 45 spider-verse Nat Geo Kids & Family movie serial killer spinoff rt labs critics edition Comedy television Avengers sequels Schedule Christmas Winners TV Land Adult Swim 21st Century Fox X-Men joker Rocky spain children's TV Logo Tumblr Emmy Nominations action-comedy RT History Vudu foreign Infographic classics BBC One Film Paramount Network mockumentary Crackle comiccon Reality french international Disney+ Disney Plus Pirates MTV comic stand-up comedy FX E! Teen latino new star wars movies Fargo nfl Music E3 free movies laika films rotten movies we love Fox News TCA Winter 2020 TV Television Critics Association breaking bad rom-coms festival Superheroe Crunchyroll child's play Hallmark Christmas movies DC streaming service cancelled television vampires Showtime prank Rocketman Dark Horse Comics Marathons cancelled TV series saw space Comic-Con@Home 2021 San Diego Comic-Con GLAAD Epix Paramount Plus psycho reviews Rom-Com cancelled TV shows feel good worst movies Cartoon Network pirates of the caribbean Mudbound Amazon Prime Video See It Skip It new york batman hollywood razzies Paramount 2016 historical drama police drama supernatural monster movies Heroines popular Turner what to watch Tokyo Olympics Starz YouTube ABC Family dreamworks golden globes First Reviews romance heist movie art house Food Network Pop video on demand Mary Tyler Moore OneApp RT21 Sundance Now Disney cooking game show MCU TruTV debate blockbuster 2019 72 Emmy Awards Black Mirror WGN Instagram Live name the review zero dark thirty black comedy Nominations blaxploitation President target ABC Premiere Dates sopranos CBS All Access disaster NBC Hulu Horror japan Fall TV black Musical LGBT Year in Review Certified Fresh adenture TCA crime drama Lifetime Christmas movies hispanic heritage month streaming legend Pet Sematary Apple TV Plus james bond aapi social media trailers singing competition golden globe awards Prime Video wonder woman zombies italian best DC Comics The Walking Dead Alien BBC America spanish language Marvel Studios Neflix Black History Month Netflix Christmas movies Extras Summer New York Comic Con spanish Shondaland Sneak Peek Tubi vs. Sundance TV travel godzilla Podcast crime ABC Signature Disney streaming service king kong Best and Worst rotten SDCC transformers Red Carpet Video Games Tomatazos binge Universal Television Academy DGA Esquire young adult PBS A&E 90s justice league venice scary Action spy thriller Ellie Kemper adaptation Song of Ice and Fire FX on Hulu strong female leads PaleyFest die hard royal family BET IFC Films Amazon Prime scene in color comic book movies genre Sci-Fi OWN LGBTQ australia blockbusters finale 2020 Sundance gangster dramedy christmas movies Syfy Watching Series video period drama Trailer discovery lord of the rings Biopics Ovation science fiction Super Bowl deadpool sports Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Academy Awards 73rd Emmy Awards Disney Channel Pixar ITV Sony Pictures Exclusive Video cancelled dexter new zealand Travel Channel GIFs Cosplay Rock HBO Max mutant cops Hollywood Foreign Press Association stoner Lucasfilm sag awards YA documentaries theme song The Arrangement Peacock Opinion high school Funimation CW Seed based on movie Western Brie Larson Women's History Month Comedy Central Amazon BAFTA 71st Emmy Awards Endgame Star Trek Cannes war dogs spider-man richard e. Grant Freeform slasher HBO Go Marvel boxing Photos critics posters festivals TLC marvel cinematic universe reboot jurassic park 2015 Family Toys remakes renewed TV shows Mary Poppins Returns Lionsgate Awards Tour Disney Plus 93rd Oscars anthology cats hist BET Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina CNN VICE sequel Apple trophy mcc green book cars sitcom animated 2018 Martial Arts Tarantino Apple TV+ 4/20 comics scary movies werewolf YouTube Premium telelvision Walt Disney Pictures Winter TV fast and furious superman National Geographic crime thriller Trophy Talk The Purge BBC Hallmark stop motion worst thriller Arrowverse IFC Netflix 1990s directors versus adventure king arthur Mystery ratings biography Fox Searchlight 007 dc Binge Guide Masterpiece halloween screen actors guild crossover political drama live event Animation Classic Film critic resources NBA ID Calendar cartoon Election TIFF toy story halloween tv USA Network dark Interview casting 20th Century Fox Character Guide japanese game of thrones romantic comedy rt labs Superheroes First Look technology Awards dragons Mary poppins FXX football toronto DirecTV Wes Anderson kaiju criterion medical drama USA SundanceTV Baby Yoda SXSW Captain marvel IMDb TV YouTube Red Marvel Television TCM hispanic Shudder unscripted Hear Us Out docudrama documentary concert ghosts Warner Bros. Chernobyl indiana jones Amazon Studios Turner Classic Movies TV movies boxoffice Countdown TV One natural history Oscars NYCC History doctor who Mindy Kaling 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards asian-american independent chucky basketball rt archives Fantasy women twilight robots APB olympics superhero TNT suspense 2021 Emmys FOX Creative Arts Emmys Spring TV Comic Book Discovery Channel Ghostbusters Acorn TV comic book movie CBS book Legendary kids harry potter emmy awards mob dceu south america HBO marvel comics Holidays satire Box Office VOD Pop TV Image Comics jamie lee curtis know your critic